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How to Become a School Cleaner

Want to get the most out of your cleaning skills? Our guide is here to help you figure out how!

Table of Contents

Step 1: Learn about a school cleaner's role and responsibilities

As a school cleaner you’ll be responsible for cleaning up after students and staff in school facilities, making sure to follow standard hygiene regulations. In such a varied workplace, the areas you’ll work could range from cleaning the school kitchens to clearing away art supplies. School cleaning positions offer flexibility as they’re usually part-time. 

Here are some of the key responsibilities you’ll likely deal with as a school cleaner:

  • Safely operating/using both industrial and domestic cleaning equipment and materials 
  • Collecting and disposing of waste 
  • Undertaking specialised cleaning regimes during school closures or other periods of time 
  • Storing equipment and materials safely and securely 
  • Cleaning areas as directed in line with standards and regulations 
  • Refilling soap, paper towels and other resources when needed 


When you'll be working

While working as a school cleaner you’re probably only going to be working term times, and usually after school hours.

What does a school cleaner earn?

A cleaner’s salary generally ranges from around £16,244 to £19,995 but you could potentially earn more in supervisory positions. The average school cleaner salary is around £17,550.

If you want to learn more about what a teaching assistant earns then check out our school cleaner salary page where you can find our breakdown!

How can you progress as a school cleaner?

Site management career progression

If you want to know how you could progress, take a look at some of our other career advice pages and find out what you’ll need to get where you want to be!

Step 2: Improve your chances of getting a position as a school cleaner

Even though you won’t need qualifications to enter work as a cleaner, it would be a good idea to undertake courses related to working in schools, such as a Level 2 Support Work in Schools and Colleges qualification or a Safeguarding and Prevent course. Most cleaning positions won’t have any requirements other than being able to physically handle the work.

You’ll need to meet the requirements for the job role, as well as the more specific requirements that many organisations have for their potential employees that can vary from job to job, and there are a few things that you can do to improve your chances when you’re looking to enter a career in cleaning.

Which qualifications do you need to become a school cleaner?

Though you more than likely won’t require any qualifications for the position, It would be a good idea to look into a Level 2 Support Work in Schools and Colleges qualification. You’ll get the knowledge you’ll need to work in a school and be able to demonstrate your knowledge of the environment you’ll be working in on your CV, at interviews, and in the job. 

Check Out Our Level 2 Safeguarding Course Now!

Need a little something extra for your CV? Our Level 2 Safeguarding Course will be perfect for you! Get the knowledge you need to excel in a school setting.

Get some supporting qualifications valuable to the job

Even though you probably won’t be interacting with students regularly depending on working hourse, it could be useful to take part in a safeguarding and prevent course. Safeguarding knowledge is valuable in all positions at educational institutions and is going to help you stand out in a job where other qualifications aren’t required.

How to get experience as a school cleaner

Having previous experience working as a cleaner will definitely be useful given that it’s hard for you to demonstrate cleaning skills through learning. If you don’t have any experience it would be helpful to try and find a volunteer position where you’ll be responsible for cleaning and related duties. It’s good to highlight the transferable skills you have from other work too so try and think of anything relevant that you’ve done before. Checking out our jobs board is a great way to start searching for the experience you need!

Typical weekly hours

As a school cleaner you could be working around 15 hours a week depending on your school and responsibilities.

Step 3: Make sure your CV is up-to-date

You should make sure your CV includes your most up-to-date information, including any relevant qualifications and work experience you might’ve gained since you last updated it. It’s important to present yourself as best you can, since we all know first impressions are important, and your CV is more often than not going to be the first thing potential employers will see. It’s essential that they’re done right.

To make the best impression you can, you’ll need to convey the right information and present it well. Given how important your CV is, we’ve created a short guide to help give you the best chance of landing an interview and starting your career as a school cleaner!

Top school cleaner CV writing tips

When you’re looking at a position as a school cleaner, it’s crucial that your CV is high quality and reflects your passion for the role. An effective CV is well presented, displays relevant skills and experience, and gives your potential employers an insight into who you are. 

It’s important that you use grammar correctly, that your writing is concise but informative, and any non-relevant information is left out. Not following these rules could mean your application is rejected, since employers could see it as too unprofessional. Our school cleaner CV writing tips are here to help you to land that position you’ve been waiting for!

1. Grab their attention with a personal profile

Your personal profile is the first section of your CV that employers will read to find out more about you. This is your chance to introduce yourself, sell your skills and outline your characteristics. Personal profiles are a perfect way to persuade recruiters, as it tells them straight off why they should hire you. 

This section can include relevant experience and achievements, but it’s important to tailor this to the job description and what’s prioritised there to show your enthusiasm for the role and that you’re a serious candidate for the position who has what they’re looking for. 

There are no set rules on the length of this section but you should aim for a few short sentences and no longer than 100 words. This way you can keep it concise and effectively highlight who you are to employers without giving them too much information, increasing the chances of them reading through the rest of your CV and considering you for the job. Make sure you’re putting your best foot forward and presenting the things that you think make yourself stand out.

Talk about yourself (when it's relevant)

Though your CV should be more focused on your skills and work experience rather than your personality, it can be good to include some relevant personal information such as your hobbies in your CV. What counts as relevant will vary from job to job.

2. Sell your skills

There should be a section in your CV that outlines your relevant skills. This makes it easy for the employer to read and more easily determine if you meet the requirements of the role. You should format this section using bullet points so that it’s simple and easy for employers to read. Make sure to include relevant skills that you think make you a good candidate for the position. Such as:

  • Being able to clean to a high standard, as well as being well-versed in a variety of cleaning methods
  • Having a keen attention to detail, as well as being diligent and organised
  • Being a responsible person with the ability to stay focused, as well as multitask and work to strict deadlines as required by the employer

If you’re struggling to think of skills that are relevant to the job then it’s a good idea to check vacancy advertisements for some ideas. Start off by rereading the job you’re applying for and what might be useful to mention, but if you’re still stuck then take a look at other similar job postings. You should also think about which of your skills have been helpful in any of your past work or study. 

It’s important when talking about your skills to try and include both hard and soft skills, so that you can show some variety. Hard skills are the skills you gain through experience, knowledge, or learning such as through a qualification or after undertaking training. Soft skills refer to your personal traits and habits that determine how you work, like being an effective communicator, able to work in a team, or organisational skills.

3. Outline your experience

You should outline any past experiences in either work or volunteer positions that are relevant to becoming a school cleaner and can best show your potential employer the value that you’d be bringing to the position. 

The most valuable experience you can have as a school cleaner is working in that position before and, if you have it, is something you should present front and centre. Any experience you have in a cleaning or housekeeping role should be invaluable to you, and you should always bring it up. Give details of where you worked, including the dates you started and finished your employment (these don’t have to be specific, usually the month and year are fine), alongside your key responsibilities within the role. If you have a lot of relevant experience then list it from most to least recent. Employers will want to know more of what you’ve been doing recently, rather than years ago, as it’s more relevant to the jobs you’ll be applying for now.

If you have no relevant experience then you should include any previous employment you’ve been in and the transferable skills you gained that will be useful in the role. Try and think about any similarities between your previous positions and the one you’re applying for. Is there anything listed on the job advertisement that sounds familiar?

4. List your education and qualifications

Making sure you mention your education clearly on your CV is very important, as it will show that you have the knowledge and qualifications needed for the job. When listing your qualifications you should prioritise two things: the level of the qualification (is it a degree or a GCSE?) and when you received it. Much like your experience, it’s best to list your qualifications from your most to least recent.

When you’re listing your qualifications make sure you include the name of the institution, the dates you attended them from, the subject(s) you studied or name of the qualification, as well as the final grade you received. If there’s a particular aspect of your study that is very relevant to the position you’re applying to then it would be a good idea to briefly mention it at some point.

Include your certificates and other qualifications

Don’t think you just need to include your experiences from school or university, things like standalone courses that award you with a certificate or diploma are more than relevant, especially if they cover a subject that’s relevant to your work. Add your certificates in the same way you’d add your other qualifications, providing any additional information as needed.

5. Remember to include your contact details

It might seem obvious, but having your contact details clearly signposted on your CV is extremely important, without them potential employers may have no way to contact you. You should include your up-to-date email, phone number, and address somewhere near the top of your CV so that they don’t get lost amongst the rest of your information.

Example school cleaner CV

School Cleaner CV

Struggling to put your CV together? Download our free CV template and get a head start on making a fantastic CV. Make sure to follow the rest of our tips and learn how to land that job you’ve always wanted!

Download our CV Template and Make Yours Today!

Step 4: Search for school cleaner jobs you can apply for

Searching for a school cleaner position should be simple, and shouldn’t be any different than finding any other job you’ve applied for before. Make sure that the positions you apply for are a good fit for you and that you have all the necessary qualifications and you should have no trouble! Checking out our job board could be a good start for your search.

Step 5: Write a job-specific cover letter

You should write your cover letter using the job description of the vacancy you’re applying for. Your cover letter is an important part of many job applications. 

No matter what kind of job you’re applying for, your cover letter is going to help demonstrate to potential employers the passion that you have for the role and allow you to sell yourself as a valuable candidate that they need to consider hiring. 

Top school cleaner cover letter writing tips

Cover letters are your chance to really sell yourself to a prospective employer and progress to the next stage of the hiring process. This opportunity isn’t always fully exploited by candidates, and sometimes cover letters just become reworked CVs or are poorly planned and formatted.

1. What should a cover letter look like?

The header of your cover letter should have your up-to-date email, contact number, and the current date, as well as the recipient’s contact information. You should start your cover letter with a greeting such as “Dear [Company] Hiring Manager” or “Dear Mr/Ms Surname”, if you know who you’ll be contacting directly.

When choosing your font you need to make sure it’s not only easy to read but also looks professional, as well as the right size. Try to stick between a size 10pt-12pt font on your cover letter, as making your font size too big could come across unprofessionally, but it should still be clear and legible. Make sure to split the main body of text into multiple paragraphs, this not only makes it easier to read but also easier to plan the structure of your cover letter (each paragraph might have a specific topic, for example). 

It’s a good idea to sign off your cover letter using your name and a complimentary close. Using “Yours Sincerely” or “Your Faithfully” are seen as very formal, but can sometimes appear outdated, try using “Kind Regards” as a formal alternative that is still professionally acceptable.

2. What should I write in my cover letter?

Here are some suggestions for each of the paragraphs in your cover letter and what you might want to mention to your prospective employer: 

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We are interactive boxes, tap us! 

First paragraph


Start by explaining why you're writing the letter, making sure to mention the job you're interested in by its specific title, you could also mention where you saw or heard about the vacancy. Give a brief sentence stating your experience or a relevant qualification. 

Second paragraph

Experience and Qualifications

Highlight your relevant experience or qualifications. Talk about relevant responsibilities you had in previous roles, and go into more detail about how this makes you suitable for the role--is there a particular achievement you're proud of in your previous work or study that is relevant to the job? Mention it here!

Third paragraph


Discuss the skills you have that are relevant to the job and make sure that you mention how they make you well-suited for the role. Always be showing the employer what you have to offer them if they were to hire you. 

Final paragraph

Final note

Reiterate your interest in the role. Outline your motivations for not only working this type of job but why you want to work for this employer. It's a good idea to include some relevant knowledge about your potential employer, as it shows you are taking an extra interest.  

3. How can I make my cover letter unique for each role I apply for?

A good way of making your cover letter stand out from other candidates is by tailoring it to the particular role you’re applying for. It’s always easiest to look back through the job posting and pick out relevant information like the job title and employer and making sure to mention them early on. This will show your employer that your cover letter is tailored towards them, rather than being something generic you’re sending around to every employer.

When you’re going through the job posting take note of the specific skills and experience listed as desirable by the employer, you can tailor the skills and experience you mention to what they’re looking for. Try not to follow along too closely and risk looking like you’ve just copied the advertisement, but do enough to show that you’re the ideal candidate. Order your skills, experience, and qualifications in order of relevancy–what’s highlighted or mentioned first in the job posting? Is there something very specific that they’re looking for? Make sure you bring it up!

4. Finishing touches

Now that your cover letter is well-formatted, has the main body of it’s content written, and has been tailored to the job role, it’s time to put the finishing touches to your work.

Proofread what you’ve written a few times over to check for punctuation or grammar errors and how well your writing flows. Try and enlist the help of a friend or relative to give it a read over, they may spot something you missed!

Now you should go back to the job vacancy and re-read all of it. Check if there are any special instructions you should follow when applying for the position, like if they’re asking for the documents to be submitted as a particular file type or maybe want you to add a job reference number to your cover letter. Make any of the changes you need and ensure everything’s in order. Overlooking small things like this could ruin your otherwise perfect cover letter!

Example school cleaner cover letter

School cleaner cover letter

Download our Cover Letter Template and Make Yours Today!

Struggling to put your cover letter together? Download our free cover letter template and get a head start on writing an amazing cover letter. Make sure to follow the rest of our tips and learn how to land that job you’ve always wanted!

Step 6: Prepare for interviews

We all know that job interviews can be nerve-wracking, but being well prepared for the interview will help you to appear calmer and more confident. It might seem obvious, but make sure that you always present yourself professionally at interviews, dress well, and always be polite. First impressions can make or break your chances!

Interviews can be daunting and hard to prepare for–especially if you don’t have much experience–but we’re here to help you out. 

We’ve compiled a list of common questions that you might be asked in your interview for a school cleaner position and how you should go about answering them, as well as some questions you can ask your interviewer to help show your interest in the position!

Questions your interviewer might ask

Your motivations

You should talk about your motivations for working as a cleaner. Even if you’re not particularly passionate about the role, it’s best to sound engaged and eager to do the work. Interviewers are going to want people who seem ready and able to do the job the best they can.

Your personal approach to the role

As a school cleaner you’re going to be working as a part of a wider team. This will mostly include the rest of your cleaning team but you’ll also be working alongside the wider school staff and will have to be accommodating to their needs. You should emphasise how well you work in a team as well as any particular things you’ve achieved while working as part of a team before but make sure that they know you’re equally competent working independently. When describing past achievements or situations using the STAR method to structure your answer could be helpful.

You should make sure before you apply that you’ll be able to work to the schedule of the position. If you’re comfortable with the position’s flexibility you should make it clear that you’re ready to work as required–employers don’t want to hear that your life can’t fit in with their schedule.

Though most school cleaning positions will have you working after hours when most students have headed home, you could still find you’ll be around teachers and students staying late or even working during school hours. You should make sure the interviewer knows it wouldn’t interfere with your job and that you wouldn’t have an impact on the learning environment.

Qualifications and experience

Let your interviewer know about any relevant experience you have. Though talking about a similar role would be ideal, don’t think you’re limited to talking about school cleaning positions. Whether you have previous experience as a cleaner or something else you think would apply here, always bring up your good points. Reassuring prospective employers you have the right skills is always important.

Questions for you to ask your interviewer

Now let's recap...

Final note

After reading through our guide, you should be ready to embark on a new career in cleaning with the confidence you need to excel. If you follow our tips then you’ll be more than ready to get the job role you’ve been looking for! Good luck, and if you need any more advice on other career options, don’t forget to take a look through our career advice page

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